I was attending an event a few days ago, where one of the presenters cited some facts and figures about one of his customers. But incidentally, one of the next speakers on the agenda was actually a representative of that same customer. And you know what? This guy denied the facts and corrected the figures given by his supplier. As a business speaker this is certainly a situation you want to avoid at all price.
Here are a few simple rules for referring to other persons, companies or case studies:
- Don’ t cite facts or figures on behalf of any 3rd party, as they may be outdated, misinterpreted by you, or just boldly wrong.
- Never mention customers or business relations by their name (or by their logo), unless you’ve got their prior (implicit or explicit) approval.
- If you have (good or bad) case studies you want to piggyback on in your presentation, it may be an option to anonymize them, and speak about “a company I will not mention by name”. As such you will avoid embarrassing situations like the one above.
- Or even better: invite one of your customer’s (most friendly) employees as a guest speaker. And if this is not possible, ask them to provide you with a quote or a testimonial video.
- There’s a golden rule in life that says “do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself.” So never resort to talking bad about your customers, partners or competitors, even if they deserve it.
- 12 Customer Dos & Don’ts (by Geoffrey James)
- How to Effectively Use Testimonials (by Derek Gehl)
- How You Talk About Competitors Speaks Volumes (by Martin Zwilling)
- Social Selling Tips: How to Talk about Competitors without Destroying Trust (by Koka Sexton)